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Full AJ100 data

Darling Associates


Lollard Street, Lambeth, Londonphilip vile

Darling Associates has zoomed 19 places up the AJ100 rankings, having added 29 architects in 2018 through organic growth and the acquisition of Manchester leisure and hospitality practice Architect-CT. Total architectural fees rose by a fifth to £8.4 million.

‘It was a very good year for us,’ says founder Chris Darling, who set up the practice in 2003. ‘Brexit has started to hit us in 2019, but it wasn’t a real factor in 2018.’

Darling’s two largest sectors are residential and workplace, followed by hotels and hospitality. The practice reports a strong pipeline of work but has noticed a trend towards a less London-centric workload. New regional work includes major PRS housing developments in Exeter, Birmingham, and Manchester.

Major completions in 2018 included three London projects. In Lambeth, it completed Lollard Street, an 89-home social housing redevelopment of a former car park as the Section 106 component of the Shell Centre development. On Marylebone High Street, Darling designed the interior spatial planning and finishes on Dixon Jones’s W1 apartment development, and in Soho it completed a retrofit and rooftop extension of Axtell House, a seven-storey commercial property off Regent Street.

Following the Manchester acquisition, Darling has an eye on further expansion this year, and is considering opening a new office either in the Midlands or in Dublin, both on the back of existing work.

While its strategy for the next year is cautious growth, the practice is ambitious for the longer-term future. ‘Our strategy is to grow to about 200 staff and be a top 20 UK practice, so that we’ll never be ruled out by virtue of size or capability. We won’t stop and rest. We’ll keep on pushing forward,’ says Darling.


UK architects 2019 71 hide graph
28 2009
25 2011
21 2012
21 2013
23 2014
35 2015
33 2016
39 2017
50 2018
71 2019
Overseas architects 2019 7 show graph
3 2009
6 2011
6 2012
4 2013
4 2014
4 2015
4 2016
5 2017
7 2018
7 2019
Percentage of women architects in the UK 2019 63% show graph
Percentage of BAME architects in the UK 2019 18% show graph


Architecture fees for UK projects paid to UK offices 2019 £8.2m
Architecture fees for overseas projects paid to UK offices 2019 0
Architecture fees for all projects delivered out of UK offices 2019 £8.2m
Architectural fees for projects delivered out of overseas offices 2019 £0.2m
Total fees income 2019 £8.4m
Total income 2019 * £8.4m
Fees paid to UK offices
 UK income
 Overseas income
* Includes architectural fees plus fees earned by engineers, surveyors, planners, etc

Fees per architectural staff

UK office architecture fees per UK architecture staff 2019£82,939


2019 awards 0 show graph


2019 ranking 25 show graph

Darling Associates on LinkedIn

If you spot any inaccuracies in the data, please contact the AJ Team.